Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday made a televised address to thank all efforts that had contributed to the eventual success of the mission to rescue 12 young footballers and their assistant coach from Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai.
The 3.45-minute speech took place a day after the last of the stranded Mu Pa Academy footballers were brought out of the cave on Tuesday evening, marking a happy ending to the 17-day operation in which Thai and international rescuers joined hands.
Prayut extended his “sincerest gratitude” to all involved in the mission including volunteers, government officials, private companies and media, as well as the moral support of people across the world.
“Although the mission has been accomplished, images of people from all walks of life coming together to lend their helping hands, regardless of race or religious belief, will remain with all of us forever,” the premier said.
“In times of crisis, when Thai people are faced with hardship, His Majesty the King and the Royal Family have always expressed concern and closely observed the situation, and have graciously provided direct assistance to all officials involved, with constant encouragement and guidance to the rescue mission,” he went on. “This is indeed a blessing for the Thai people.”
He also recalled the sacrifice of Petty Officer First Class Samarn Kunan, a former Thai Navy SEAL diver, who volunteered and lost his life during the operation. Prayut said Saman’s legacy “will forever be in our hearts”.